Good afternoon from Nashville, TN. I'm back in the U.S.A. After spending 2 years in Honduras, I flew back to the U.S. on August 22nd. The 24 months flew by and it was certainly a great experience. Now Carina and I begin the next chapter of this journey, our transition to the U.S.
As of right now Carina is in Honduras completing her student teaching for the teaching degree she has been working on for the past 4 years. We are also finalizing the visa application process with the U.S. government. Our hope is that Carina will come to the U.S. in December once she graduates from teaching school.
I returned in order to start interviewing for jobs as well as get settled so I would be prepared to help Carina once she arrives. Thankfully I will be returning to Honduras this week for the Olancho Aid Foundation's annual board retreat, that will give me an opportunity to spend time with Carina. I also hope to visit her in October or November when we have our appointment with the U.S. Embassy for her visa.
It's not easy being away from Carina but we speak on the phone everyday, we skype some, and she is great about sending me pictures. This past Wednesday was "Day of the Child" in Honduras so all the schools had celebrations for the students. Carina dressed up like a clown for the special needs children at her schoool.
As for the job search, I'm happy to tell you that I was offered and accepted a position with HCA (Hospital Corporation of America) this week. Not only was I blessed to find such a great opportunity, but HCA is based right here in Nashville which means we will get to stay in Tennessee. Good stuff all around. Many people have asked me what's the scariest part about quitting a job and moving to a 3rd world country for two years, and I would have to say it's the uncertainty of not really knowing how I would return to the workforce and what that transition would be like. I started applying for positions online and networking about 2 months ago. I started praying for a smooth transition back to the U.S. before I even left for Honduras. I have to say that God has certainly been watching over Carina and I, so far the transition is going great.
My last 2 months in Honduras were busy.
Carina and I moved out of the house we had been renting since we got married. It was not easy to move out of our first home, but we needed to move back into my in-laws house so once I moved to the U.S. Carina would not be living alone. That gave us some good quality time with family as well which was a lot of fun. We did not go hungry. Here is a picture of us as we were locking up the rental house and moving out. The neighbor boy took the pic, little blurry.
I had 4 volunteers from Louisiana and 1 from Massachusetts working with me this past summer at our first annual summer camp for the bilingual students at our elementary school. I have a new respect for teachers, working with kids is a lot of work. We had a great time, the camp was a huge success, and these camp counselors from the U.S. had an awesome experience living in Honduras for 2 months.
The foundation that I was volunteering with is affiliated with an orphanage and each month Carina and I would try to spend some quality time with the orphans. The orphans pictured below arrived at the orphanage as babies about 5 years ago, I have watched them grow up. Here is a picture of a few of them waiting for the bus on their first day of kindergarten. Thanks to sponsors in the U.S. they are attending Santa Clara Bilingual Elementary School, such an awesome opportunity for these kids. As Carina and I begin a new phase in our life it was good to see that these kids are being blessed with the gift of Education.
As for Gardo's home, here are some pictures from mid August. The house is coming along nicely, I have included the before picture as well.
Carina's father has a lot of experience building roofs so he was able to construct the metal roof. Gardo and his son have done all the block and concrete work themselves. Both of Gardo's kids are excited to have a house. Someone in the community told me that they were talking with Gardo's son, Pilar, and Pilar asked them...."Did you hear that we have a house now?". They are enjoying the security of block walls and the protection of a metal roof. When I left in August Gardo was building some windows and doors. I'm looking forward to seeing the house next week and I will take some more pictures to share with you. Once he completes the windows and doors I want to send him some money so he can pour concrete floors. Thanks to everyone who contributed to this project. Very cool!
In the photos below you can see a room on the left and a room on the right. One room will serve as a room for their beds and the other will be a living/kitchen area. The covered area on the front of the house will eventually have a concrete floor and will be used as an outdoor living area as well.
The wood leaning against the house is what Gardo is using to build the windows and doors.
After 2 years in Honduras most people have the same 2 questions for me. What did I miss the most about the U.S. and what food was I most excited to eat once I returned? As for food, it's difficult to find good Italian in Honduras so that's the food I missed the most. I also missed the dining experience, most Hondurans don't have the luxury of going out to eat, certainly not to the types of restaurants we have here in the U.S. Aside from food, I would say that I really missed paved streets, running water, and air conditioning. It is difficult to go for a run, walk, even more difficult to drive on dirt streets. The dirt also creates a lot dust. Running water is something we pay so little for in this country, but let me tell you it is more important than cable or electricity, just try turning your kitchen or bathroom sink off for a few hours if you don't believe me.
As Carina and I begin this new phase of our lives, I hope we continue to cherish the simple things in life, take time to help others, and never forget all the people who helped us get to where we are today. Living in Honduras certainly changed my life and while we can't be certain of what the future holds, we are both looking forward to seeing what God has planned for us. Thanks for continuing to follow my blog and supporting the work we have been doing.